DETROIT — The Giants will try to salvage what is left of their season on Monday morning.
That’s when they will have a players-only meeting, one hastily called for and organized in the visiting locker room at Ford Field in the fiery moments immediately after Sunday’s 31-26 loss to the Lions. It’s when they will gather together, 53 of them, without the coaches or support staff or management, and try to stop what has been happening to the team for the past month.
It’s when, ideally, they will say, in a collective chorus: “Enough.”
The Giants are at the midway point of the schedule and the breaking point of their patience with themselves.
“We have to do some soul-searching inside our building and as a team and figure out what it is,” running back Saquon Barkley said. “Be part of the solution and not the problem . . . Sometimes it’s better to be heard from the players and individuals in the locker room. Sometimes you have to address situations.”
The narrative of Sunday’s loss was very familiar to anyone who has watched Giants football this season. They fell behind early, showed some grit to fight back, then didn’t have enough to close it out with a victory.
Safety Jabrill Peppers said he is tired of answering questions about the same situations, which is why he is a proponent of this meeting.
“Get to the root of the problem,” he said. “From a man to another man, we’re going to figure this thing out. There is still a lot of football left. We just have to get on the ball right now.”
It’s the team psyche equivalent of a Hail Mary pass. But do such meetings ever work?
“Hell, yeah,” Peppers said. “Definitely, man. When you hold everybody accountable, from a man to a man . . . This don’t have nothing to do with the coaches. This is us. We’re tired of this feeling. We’re better than what we’re putting on tape, we’re better than what the results keep showing. So it’s on us. We have to take ownership and get this thing corrected.”
No one would say who called for this powwow, or even when it was announced. “Team leaders,” Janoris Jenkins said of the initiator.
Linebacker and team captain Alec Ogletree was visibly upset on the field after an early touchdown pass against a defensive breakdown and, others said, he was just as loud and angry in the postgame locker room. Ogletree said the meeting was called by “all 53” players. It’s a good guess, though, that he was one of the big proponents pushing the concept.
“We just have to do the right stuff all the time,” Ogletree said. “It can’t be some of the time. Have to do it consistently over and over and over. Not just some of the time . . . We’ll have our discussion [Monday] and hopefully be better for it.”
It’ll be too late to save Sunday. That game featured plenty of positives from rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, including four touchdown passes, but was soured by a lot of negatives.
That included Jones’ fumble when he tried to throw a pass to Barkley but was hit, forcing the football backward for a lateral that was scooped up and returned for a TD by former Giants linebacker Devon Kennard.
The loss also included the breakdown, likely by rookie cornerback DeAndre Baker, that got Ogletree so animated on the field, and a trick play on a flea-flicker that went for a touchdown over the head of the most seasoned defender on the team, safety Antoine Bethea.
“I want to win, man, you know what I’m saying?” Peppers said.
The frustrations are percolating beyond the players. Asked about the Jones fumble, coach Pat Shurmur said it wasn’t Jones’ fault that he was “[expletive] hit” on the play. He later apologized for his language, but head coaches who drop F-bombs in news conferences pull the curtain aside on their anger.
“Everyone is upset, everyone is frustrated, everyone is probably sick to their stomach,” Barkley said. “No one wants to lose, especially four in a row.”
The Giants have been trying to fix their mistakes as they come up and as they go along. That approach hasn’t worked.
“You have to say something,” Jenkins said of players calling each other out for poor plays. “But if you just say something and nobody’s really listening . . . I’m not saying they’re not listening, [but] we have to step it up.”